Hello AskPerf readers,

Just want to let you know of a new support offering that we are in the process of rolling out.

I am sure many of you have contacted Microsoft for support in the past and are aware of our various support offerings. We have Consumer support, Professional support and various levels of Premier and Alliance Support. Premier level support is based on hourly contracts, but is most likely not economically feasible for smaller businesses, which is where Professional level support comes in. Pro support as we call it has a set cost per incident, and the problem is worked until resolution for that one price.

However, all of this applies to what we call break-fix issues.

If a customer does not have something that is broken that needs fixing, but instead wants a walkthrough or assistance in getting something set up, we call that Advisory Services. For Premier customers, this is really not a big deal, as they already have hourly contracts and whether an hour is spent on break-fix or advisory is really only important on the bookkeeping end. However, for a small company or individual who uses Professional pay-per-incident support, there was really no good avenue for them to obtain advisory services.

That is where Pro Advisory Support comes in. We now offer advisory services on an hourly basis without having to have a Premier contract and working through Microsoft Consulting Services. The service is still in pilot, and only covers certain specific scenarios, but more are being added all the time. Each group has their own supported scenarios, and there are too many to list here, but this is a small sampling of what my group has to offer at this point:

· Windows Server 2003 Cluster Backup and Restore

· Windows Server 2008 Web Single Sign-On for Remote Desktop Services

· SBS 2003 Premigration Planning and Health Check

· System Center Installation of Data Protection Manager 2007

· Windows Server 2003 Setting up Active Directory Federation Services

There are of course more than just these, dozens in fact, and more are being added as the documentation is completed. Keep in mind also that this is still just the pilot; when the service goes into full production we will have a great many more supported scenarios that you can get our assistance with. At this time there are scenarios for Developer Support, Platforms, Office, Security and Exchange. More info on the supported scenarios is available at the Pro Advisory web page:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?pr=advisoryservice

Tim Newton

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